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WJA 2022: Danielle Uy

Danielle UySaint Louis University

Danielle Uy likes to note with pride that she is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys.

“It is where you will probably find some of the happiest attorneys on earth,” she said.

Named general counsel of Saint Louis University last year, Uy has every reason to count herself happy. The 46-year-old New York native first came to SLU in 2008 as an associate general counsel after having previously served in Thompson Coburn’s General Litigation Group. The Washington University graduate and one-time clerk for federal judge Jean Hamilton was promoted to senior associate general counsel in 2013 before being elevated to her current role last September.

“Those who completed candidate surveys commented on the depth of her experience and expertise; the tremendous regard she has from the SLU community; her professionalism and eagerness to collaborate; her strong work ethic, commitment to our Jesuit mission, and solutions-oriented approach to the work,” said a release from the SLU president’s office announcing her new job. “Danielle was described as thoughtful, knowledgeable, collaborative, measured, responsive, incisive, and prudent.”

Uy said that she gains satisfaction from both the variety of work and the knowledge that she is doing something important.

“Different issues are coming across your desk every day,” she said. “Also, there is the fact that I’m working for an institution that is over 200 years old, educating young people to go out and light the world on fire.”

She said that having a larger mission underlying her daily work is vital.

“Our approach in-house is really to be strategic partners with the leadership here and to make sure we understand what their goals are,” she said. “We identify and mitigate risk but then also support their goals.”

The first in her immediate family to become a lawyer, Uy is no stranger to being honored. She was among six recognized in 2019 by SLU’s Women’s Commission as Women of the Year.

“In higher education, I think there is greater representation of women in general counsel positions in higher ed,” she said. “I don’t know if that is because women self-select in or if it is because it is just more welcoming.”

Regardless, she said that her career has taught her that respect for others is paramount.

“Even when you are in difficult situations, whether it is dealing with employment matters or student matters, people remember how they feel they were treated,” Uy said, “so it is always important to acknowledge how people feel, not just the outcome. They might disagree with the outcome but they will always remember if they’ve been treated fairly.”

Women's Justice Awards 2022